I was thinking about Sandburg this morning when I was in church. The pastor was talking about loving something in it's entirety, not just a piece of it and being part of the madness in the world but separating yourself off from it and being an observer. Sandburg loved the city I loved. He wrote of the women in the mist and of the street lamps of the city.
OF my city the worst that men will ever say is this:
You took little children away from the sun and the dew,
And the glimmers that played in the grass under the great sky,
And the reckless rain; you put them between walls
To work, broken and smothered, for bread and wages,
To eat dust in their throats and die empty-hearted
For a little handful of pay on a few Saturday nights.
Sandburg was a social democrat and wrote for newspapers and wanted better for the world. I wondered this morning what he would have thought of the times we find ourselves in. Would he have taken up the political forum. Would he be Susan Sarandonish forgetting he was a poet or a writer of children's stories and try to influence social change. Father Michael Flager was on television yesterday as two more kids were shot in chicago, victims of gang violence. I wondered if Sandburg were watching from his quiet suburban post in heaven shaking his head looking down on us all wondering when we are going to figure out our lives. Flager's voice was shaking talking about his own adopted son being murdered, telling of how his church was a safe haven and even opposing gang members would dare not fight in those hallowed halls. Broke my heart. I know I miss people who have been through my life because of death and illness. I can't imagine needless violence.
Sandburg like Oscar Wilde wrote fairy tales. Sandburgs full of made up names and interesting fun scenarios. Reading them is like taking a walk through my Best Friend's head full of twists and turns. I often compare her thought processes to that of being a mouse on space mountain, twisting turning, sometimes dark and in the end enlightening and a little glad you got out with your senses about you. Wilde's tales are dark and sad and very telling, not really for chlidren. I recently felt very similiar to the story of the Birthday of the Infanata.
bella Princesa, your funny little dwarf will never dance again. It is a pity, for he is so ugly that he might have made the King smile.' 'But why will he not dance again?' asked the Infanta, laughing. 'Because his heart is broken,' answered the Chamberlain. And the Infanta frowned, and her dainty rose-leaf lips curled in pretty disdain. 'For the future let those who come to play with me have no hearts,' she cried, and she ran out into the garden.
******************************For the future, let those who come to play with me have no hearts. Wow. I am always looking for just the opposite. The best laid plans of mice and romantic girls.There are days when you consider having a tattoo of a golf club placed on your inner thigh. Best Friend introduced me Sandburg's stories for children.She loves to read to the little ones and they gather around her like pigeons do a french fry, even happier though. My favorite of his stories is the story I am going to share here with you today:
When the dishes are washed at night time and the cool of the evening has come in summer or the lamps and fires are lit for the night in winter, then the fathers and mothers in the Rootabaga Country sometimes tell the young people the story of the White Horse Girl and the Blue Wind Boy.
The White Horse Girl grew up far in the west of the Rootabaga Country. All the years she grew up as a girl she liked to ride horses. Best of all things for her was to be straddle
of a white horse loping with a loose bridle among the hills and along the rivers of the west Rootabaga Country.
She rode one horse white as snow, another horse white as new washed sheep wool, and another white as silver. And she could not tell because she did not know which of these three white horses she liked best.
"Snow is beautiful enough for me any time," she said, "new washed sheep wool, or silver out of a ribbon of the new moon, any or either is white enough for me. I like the white manes, the white flanks, the white noses, the white feet of all my ponies. I like the forelocks hanging down between the white ears of all three—my ponies."
And living neighbor to the White Horse Girl in the same prairie country, with the same black crows flying over their places, was the Blue Wind Boy. All the years he grew up as a boy he liked to walk with his feet in the dirt and the grass listening to the winds. Best of
all things for him was to put on strong shoes and go hiking among the hills and along the rivers of the west Rootabaga Country, listening to the winds.
There was a blue wind of day time, starting sometimes six o'clock on a summer morning or eight o'clock on a winter morning. And there was a night wind with blue of summer stars in summer and blue of winter stars in winter. And there was yet another, a blue dawn and evening wind. All three of these winds he like so well he could not say which he liked best.
"The early morning wind is strong as the prairie and whatever I tell it I know it believes and remembers," he said, "and the night wind with the big dark curves of the night sky in it, the night wind gets inside of me and understands all my secrets. And the blue wind of the times between, in the dusk when it is neither night nor day, this is the wind that asks me
questions and tells me to wait and it will bring me whatever I want."
Of course, it happened as it had to happen, the White Horse Girl and the Blue Wind Boy met. She, straddling one of her white horses, and he, wearing his strong hiking shoes in the dirt and the grass, it had to happen they should meet among the hills and along the rivers of the west Rootabaga Country where they lived neighbors
And of course, she told him all about the snow white horse and the horse white as new washed sheep wool and the horse white as a silver ribbon of the new moon. And he told her all about the blue winds he liked listening to, the early morning wind, the night sky wind, and the wind of the dusk between, the wind that asked him questions and told him to wait.
One day the two of them were gone. On the same day of the week the White Horse Girl and the Blue Wind boy went away. And their fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers
and uncles and aunts wondered about them and talked about them, because they didn't tell anybody beforehand they were going. Nobody at all knew beforehand or afterward why they were going away, the real honest why of it.
They left a short letter. It read:
To All Our Sweethearts, Old Folks and Young Folks:
We have started to go where the white horses come from and where the blue winds begin. Keep a corner in your hearts for us while we are gone.
The White Horse Girl.
The Blue Wind Boy.
That was all they had to guess by in the west Rootabaga Country, to guess and guess where two darlings had gone.
Many years passed. One day there came riding across the Rootabaga Country a Gray Man on Horseback. He looked like he had come a long ways. So they asked him the question they always asked of any rider who looked like he had come a long ways, "Did you ever see the
White Horse Girl and the Blue Wind Boy?"
"Yes," he answered, "I saw them."
It was a long, long ways from here I saw them," he went on, "it would take years and years to ride to where they are. They were sitting together and talking to each other, sometimes singing, in a place where the land runs high and tough rocks reach up. And they were looking out across water, blue water as far as the eye could see. And away far off the blue waters met the blue sky.
"'Look!' said the Boy, 'that's where the blue winds begin.'
"'Look!' said the Girl, 'that's where the white horses come from.'
"And then nearer to the land came thousands in an hour, millions in a day, white horses, some white as snow, some like new washed sheep
woo, some white as silver ribbons of the new moon.
"I asked them, 'Whose place is this?' They answered, 'It belongs to us; this is what we started for; this is where the white horses come from; this is where the blue winds begin.'"
And that was all the Gray Man on Horseback would tell the people of the west Rootabaga Country. That was all he knew, he said, and if there was any more he would tell it.
And the fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers and uncles and aunts of the White Horse Girl and the Blue Wind Boy wondered and talked often about whether the Gray Man on Horseback made up the story out of his head or whether it happened just like he told it.
Anyhow this is the story they tell sometimes to the young people of the west Rootabaga Country when the dishes are washed at night and the cool of the evening has come in summer or the lamps and fires are lit for the night in winter.
Sometimes when you disappear, the people who love you worry. If however they know you have a sense of adventure they let you disappear knowing that when you return you will be happier. I have felt like disappearing lately and may one day do so. If I do just know I am off having adventure and when I return I will be better for it. I may be sad or I may be happy but smarter and hopefully exhausted.
You can always find me at Summerpoet@msn.com. You can find my work at www.poetsummer.etsy.com. Tomorrow kids, we'll talk about Wilde and his exploits and I am working on a new poem. Carrie